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When the past is present…

 

Clues about African American Heart Health

By Andy Coghlan, NewScientist.com

The clot thickens. We now have a clearer idea of why black Americans are twice as likely as white Americans to develop heart disease. It seems that fragments circulating in the blood, known as platelets, can form blood clots more easily in African Americans. Clotting is a classic element of heart disease and heart attack.

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“Unexpectedly, we found that platelets from black donors clotted faster and to a greater extent in response to the naturally occurring clotting agent, thrombin,” says Paul Bray of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who led the work. “This provides a new understanding of the effects of race on heart disease and other blood-clot related illnesses.”

Bray and his colleagues took blood samples from 70 black and 84 white healthy volunteers and found that a protein known as PC-TP, short for phosphatidylcholine transfer protein, is one of the main culprits. PC-TP activates a clotting factor called PAR4.

The gene that produces the protein is four times more active in the platelets of black Americans than it is in white Americans. (. . .) “Compared with white patients, black people have a twofold increased incidence of heart disease and a lower long-term survival,” he says. “The reasons for this disparity are complex, but even when socioeconomic and environmental factors are considered, the survival of black heart attack patients is two-and-a-half times lower than in white patients.”

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An important implication, says Bray, is that we need to develop a wider array of treatments to make sure that there are drugs that work for everyone.

“Black people are very poorly represented in most clinical studies on heart disease,” he says. “Our findings suggest doctors cannot therefore assume that heart disease treatment studies on whites will hold true for everyone.”

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First MLK’s Kids, Now the Heirs Of Malcolm X Are Headed to Court

From yourblackworld.net

Family members of Malcolm X have filed suit to prevent the publication of the slain leader’s diary.

At issue is the diary Malcolm X kept during the year before his assassination, as he traveled through the Middle East 220px-Malcolm-xand Africa. The diary has been reproduced for publication and lists the daughter of Malcolm X, Ilyasah Shabazz, as an editor. Other family members, however, are filing suit,  alleging that the publisher, Third World Press, does not own the rights to the diary.

Vice President of Third World Press, Bennett Johnson, contradicts the family’s claim and says the publisher has a contract signed by one of Malcolm X’s daughters.

A video promoting the publication of the diary shows the daughter of Malcolm X discussing the importance of the diary been added to the body of work already produced by Malcolm X.

“It’s really beautiful that we get to see Malcolm in his own voice – without scholars, historians or observers saying what he was thinking or what he was doing or what he meant” Shabazz says.

Third World Press says the memoir “described deep emotional connections [Malcolm X] developed during a period that was constantly colored by his prophetic sense of impending tragedy”. They also promote the diary as having a “unique” blueprint for African-Americans.

The diary is scheduled to be published on November 14, but court papers filed by the heirs of Malcolm X in Manhattan court could delay or even prevent publication.

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Ridiculed For Having a ‘Black Name’

By Black Voices, HuffingtonPost.com

Everyone feels an emotional tie to how a name can signify identity, but some names speak to the direct impact of the stereotypes promoted in society. For African-Americans, the conversation around the impact of having a “black” name is a highly charged one. For 19-year-old Keisha Austin, of Kansas City, MO., the stereotypes associated with her name and the racist jokes from her peers pushed her to ultimately change her name given at birth.

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Keisha (Kylie) Austin and Mother Cristy Austin

Keisha’s mother, Cristy Austin, was adamant about the name even before the teen was born. As a white woman raising a biracial daughter by herself in a neighborhood that wasn’t very diverse, she said she gave her daughter the name to give her confidence and a connection to her culture. She thought the name represented a “strong, feminine, beautiful black woman.” (. . .)

But classmates constantly taunted her daughter who recalled experiences where her name was associated with video vixens. Kids would joke around asking if she had “La” or a “Sha” in her name. Even a teacher once joked about her name asking if there was a dollar sign in it.

“It’s like they assumed that I must be a certain kind of girl,” she says. “Like, my name is Keisha so they think they know something about me, and it always felt negative.” (. . .)

Does it impact the course of your life to have a name that’s “black”? A study from the Cambridge-based National Bureau of Economic Research on the effect of black names looked at 16 million births in California between 1960 and 2000. The research found no significant effect on how someone’s life turns out.

However, another study cited in a report by CBS news found having a “black-sounding” name lessened the chances of the candidate getting a callback when searching for a job. Applicants with “black names” were 50 percent less likely to get a call back compared to Anglo-Saxon names, despite similar resumes. Several other studies have found similar outcomes.

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Kylie (Keisha) Austin

As for Austin, she no longer has to defend a name she said she never felt connected to. Last week, the teen officially changed her name to Kylie Austin, as an early Christmas gift from her mother.

“It’s not something I take lightly. I put a lot of thought into it. I don’t believe you should just change your name or your face or anything like that on a whim,” she told the paper. “I didn’t want to change my name because I didn’t like it. I wanted to change my name because it didn’t feel comfortable. I don’t connect to it. I didn’t feel like myself, but I never want any girls named Keisha, or any name like that, to feel hurt or sad by it.”

 

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Klansman Halloween Costume

By Cavan Sieczkowski, Huffingtonpost.com

Jessica Black of Craigsville, Va., let her son, Jackson, dress as a Klansman with a floor-length white robe and full-faced white hood, according to local ABC affiliate WHSV. The outfit garnered media attention after a photo of the boy dressed in the KKK regalia was posted to the WHSV Facebook page. When Black was confronted by the news network, she defended her decision.o-KKK-COSTUME-570 “My brother has [worn it] when he was in Kindergarten and when he was 13,” Black said. She went on to claim there is nothing wrong with the costume or with the White Supremacist group, which she says still exists in their Virginia town. “It’s supposed to be white with white, black with black, man with woman and all of that. That’s what the KKK stands for.” (. . .) Another defended the child on the station’s “Daybreak” Facebook page, saying he probably thought it was a ghost costume. Some users were angry that the town was being criticized for the act of one individual, but others criticized these people for missing the larger point. “The fact of the matter is that this event could have happened anywhere in the US and you all being more outraged that your town has a bad name than the actual issue at hand is extremely disappointing,” wrote one woman. “A few of you have missed the point completely. Just because we are in a new century does not mean that racism is a thing of the past. Racism is alive and well and if you opened your eyes, you’d see it clearly.”

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A Reminder of Black Heroism

By Rhonesha Byng, HuffingtonPost.com

In a world where two men were insensitive enough to dress up as Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman for a Halloween party, and a black college student is arrested at a high-end luxury department store for buying a belt, this teen’s story will restore your faith in humanity. In a series on kindness, the BBC recounted the incredible moment in 1996 when Keshia Thomas, an 18-year-old at the time, protected a man believed to be a white supremacist affiliated with the KKK from an angry mob.

Keshia Thomas (1996)

Keshia Thomas (1996)

In June of that year, the Ku Klux Klan held a rally at the city hall building in Ann Arbor, Mich. The town, whose population is known to be home to mostly liberals, came out in large numbers to protest the presence of the notoriously racist group. According to reports 300 anti-clan protestors showed up, while just 17 Klansmen were present.

kkk supporter running from mob, ann arborThomas was in the crowd of anti-clan protesters, when someone spotted a man in the crowd amongst them with an SS tattoo and a confederate flag shirt. The group, including Thomas, immediately chased the man.

But, in a flash, the crowd went from controlled protestors to an angry mob, hitting the man with sticks and kicking him as he lay on the ground. In that moment, Thomas separated herself from the mob and threw herself on the man to protect him.imgres-10

“When they dropped him to the ground, it felt like two angels had lifted my body up and laid me down,” Thomas said. (. . .) “She put herself at physical risk to protect someone who, in my opinion, would not have done the same for her,” he said. “Who does that in this world?”

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A Disrespectful Halloween Costume is Causing Social Media Controversy

By Lily Worneh, TheGrio.com

An incendiary photo was posted to Facebook this Friday featuring two young Florida men dressed as George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, complete with blackface, a blood-stained hoodie and a shirt that reads, “Neighborhood Watch.” The image was reportedly uploaded by Caitlin Cimeno from Martha’s Vineyard who captioned the photo: “Happy Halloween from Zimmerman and Trayvon,” followed by a smiley face emoticon. Cimeno is pictured in the photo, posing in the middle between Greg Cimeno, 22, who dressed as Zimmerman, and William Filene, 25, who posed as Martin.

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In the photo, Greg Cimeno, of Cape Coral, Fl., points his hand like a gun and directs it at Filene’s head.

Meanwhile, Filene, who is white, painted his face black and is seen wearing a gray hoodie, which is marked by a single gunshot wound in the chest and surrounded by fake blood. (. . .)

Greg Cimeno reportedly wrote a comment below the photo saying, “Anything for the laugh,” which prompted one of Caitlin’s friends to write, “Not too funny.” In response, Greg said: “Not too funny. It’s f**king hilarious!!!” The photo also drew criticism from others who commented on the photo: “Anything for a laugh? so a kid gets murdered and its funny some people are beyond disgusting,” one person wrote.

Some took to Twitter to voice their disagreement over the photo: “That Trayvon Martin Halloween costume was just straight disrespect! There is NO EXCUSE for that,” one person said. “To take Trayvon Martin’s death and make a mockery out of it with a Halloween costume is sickening,” another tweeted.

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For Rent: Former Slave Quarters

by , Care2.com

A former slave cabin like this will be converted into an apartment in Anderson, S.C. (NBC News screenshot)

A former slave cabin like this will be converted into an apartment in Anderson, S.C. (NBC News screenshot)

Would you rent an apartment that, a century and a half ago, was once a slave cabin? Chuck Corley, a developer from Columbia, South Carolina, seems to think that someone will, says NBC News.

Corley, who has renovated other historic sites, including the Lemmon Hill Plantation and Corley Hall Plantation, is planning to turn the long-empty, boarded-up structures in Anderson, South Carolina into an apartment complex.

The Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation purchased the structures in 2009 and prevented them from being destroyed; its director says that they are the “last-known slave cabins in the upstate.” Corley is now under contract to buy the buildings and turn them into rental units. Bobby Baxter, who has lived near the site of the slave cabins since the early 1960s and seen them deteriorate year after year, welcomes Corley’s plans. “It’s important to keep the squatters out of here,” he says.

Commenting on how “well-built” the slave cabins were, Corley says he hopes “to save [them] in as pure a form as we can save.” Renovating the cabins could cost from $50,000 to $100,000, he estimates.(…)

The "quarters" where slaves were housed on the plantation.

Spanish moss provides a romanticized setting for the tiny houses where too many captive humans lived packed together.

Angela da Silva of the National Black Tourism Network counters that converting former slave quarters into bed and breakfasts — into vacation lodgings — is “truly whitewashing slavery.” Turning former slave cabins into apartments that people would actually live in full-time raises a number of ethical issues. More than a few of us (I’ll include myself) would not care to sleep, much less live, in a place where people once lived as slaves.

Certainly it is important to preserve historic structures and learn the full story about this country’s past. In 2010, residents of Greenville, South Carolina rehabilitated a slave cabin from the 1840s. The cabin had been threatened with demolition in the face of a housing development; residents rallied to disassemble the structure and move it to the Living History Farm at Roper Mountain Science Center, which is owned by the Greenville County Schools. The reconstructed cabin now serves a valuable role, to teach children about the United State’s past and the importance of historic preservation.

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Only Blonde White Waitresses Are Allowed To Have Hair Highlights At Hooters?

By CBS Baltimore, baltimore.cbslocal.com

The popular restaurant chain Hooters is accused of racial discrimination by a former employee in Baltimore. And it all centers around her hair. (. . .)Hooters

Farryn Johnson’s blonde highlights are now at the center of a complaint filed with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights. “My other co-workers, they all had different colors in their hair, like red and blonde highlights. I didn’t think it would be an issue,” she said. (. . .)

Johnson, 25, was fired from her job as a waitress at Baltimore’s Harborplace Hooters in August after she was told by managers her hair color violated employee image standards.imgres-7

“They gave me write-ups and they told me I need to take the color out of my hair. And they said I couldn’t have blonde in my hair because I’m black. They specifically said, ‘Black women don’t have blonde in their hair, so you need to take it out,’” said Johnson. (. . .)

“What’s wrong is that both federal and state law clearly say employers can’t impose two separate and distinct rules governing employee standards–one for African-American employees and one for everyone else. And that’s clearly what Hooters did here,” said attorney Weber, Brown Goldstein Levy. (. . .)

Delegate Washington agrees. Employers need to be able to define personal appearance and grooming standards, but she’s already drafting legislation that would prevent employers from requiring or prohibiting specific hairstyles.

She says Farryn Johnson is just one of many examples. (. . .)Hooters-1

Hooters of America declined to comment, citing the pending litigation. The case is now in the hands of the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights, whose investigation could take months.

Washington expects her bill to be pre-filed for the next legislative session in Annapolis.

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New Statistics on African-American’s That Identify As LGBT

By HuffingtonPost.com

A new report is shedding light on the growing number of individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in the black community.imgres-4 According to a recent study, there are more than one million African-American LGBT adults in the U.S. Of those individuals, 84,000 are in same-sex households with about 34 percent of couples raising children. These numbers come about a year after a Gallup report that found African-Americans make up the largest share of the LGBT community. (…)

men-holding-handsThe report finds overall higher unemployment rates and lower proportions with a college degree among LGBT African-Americans, when compared to their non-LGBT counterparts. However, these disadvantages are not present among African-Americans in same-sex couples, with 25 percent having completed a college degree, compared to 22 percent of African-Americans in heterosexual couples. In addition, 71 percent of African-Americans in same-sex couples are employed compared to 68 percent of their heterosexual counterparts.

The study also highlighted a prevalence of interracial relationships, a trend that is on the rise nationally for heterosexual couples. According to its findings, 47 percent of same sex couples with one African-American partner feature another partner of another race. (…)images-2

Nationally, how African-American same-sex couples fare compared to heterosexual couples varied significantly based on gender and whether or not the couple was raising children. For example, female African-American same-sex couples earn over $20,000 less than male African-American same-sex couples. Further, African-American same-sex couples raising children, report household median incomes $15,000 lower than comparable African-American different-sex couples.

Another significant finding was that many African-American LGBT individuals live in regions that have a high population of black residents but have yet to pass laws that protect the LGBT community, which co-author Angeliki Kastanis said could have a huge effect.

“LGBT African-American parents and their children evidence significant economic disadvantage and many live in states without LGBT anti-discrimination laws or marriage equality,” Kastanis said. “Establishing these important legal protections could really help these families.”

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Black History Document Found in Chicago Home Before Demolition

By Susanne M. Schafer, BigStory.Ap.Org

The first black man to become a University of South Carolina professor in 1873 was hailed Tuesday as a “man of courage,” who taught during the school’s fleeting era of post-Civil War desegregation and ended up inspiring the generations of scholars who followed.

Richard Theodore Greener, a promising intellectual who fought for racial equality, was invited to teach and live on the university’s Columbia campus during the tumultuous period known as Reconstruction.imgres-3

“We are all extremely proud of this path-breaker,” said Bobby Donaldson, a history and African-American studies professor.

“The hiring of an African-American professor and the admission of black students — less than a decade after the end of slavery — were part of an extraordinary and daring experiment,” Donaldson said.imgres-2

He spoke at a ceremony held to unveil Greener’s 1876 law diploma and law license. Those documents were recently acquired by the university and placed on display at the South Carolina Library, which is dedicated to the state’s history.

The diploma and license survived after being plucked from a Chicago home in 2009 just before it was to be demolished. (…)

It is a stroke of luck for the school to obtain Greener’s documents. Many originals were destroyed to eradicate the memory of blacks attending the school.

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